Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
Sieg and other members of Starlight were observing the remains of a gigantroll, that had only bones left on the upper part of his body.
「Hey, leader. Are those the guys that we were supposed to take down this time?」
「Yeah, judging by the size, it’s them… Chewed along with the bones. And there are also signs of prior struggle.」
Sieg looked around the remains of the gigantroll. The ground around was roughed up much more than it should be and a shattered club which the gigantroll most likely used was lying nearby.
Then, Sieg once again looked at the bones of gigantroll.
「Looks like it got him right into the heart, where magic power is concentrated. I have seen small monster like this after being eaten by large monsters, but… Since the day I was born, never once in my life have I ever heard about such a monster in the primordial forest that can do this to someone of this size…」
In order to develop into the primordial forest, the Magical Beasts Research Facility performs surveys into it several times a year.
I have received reports many times, but anything that could devour such a giant never appeared there.
And scanning the place where the battle took place, a number of black, shiny, stone-like objects could be seen here and there.
Then, considering what we saw earlier—
「Scales… of the ancient dragon? No way, it’s really in this primordial forest…?」
Judging by the situational evidence, it wouldn’t be strange.
It’s possible that it’s been lurking in the primordial forest since the time it dropped the scales at Meteor during the Great War.
……On top of that, due to influence from the great war, periodic expeditions by the magic beasts research facility weren’t carried out for the past few months.
With that fact in mind, Sieg was surveying the surroundings while being fully alert, so he could move at any movement, and then—
「Leader. Something terrible is scattered over here…! It’s cast-off skin of an ancient dragon… !」
「What did you say… ?!」
Going to the place from which the trapper once again reported in a panicked voice, there was a lump of black scales.
And it maintained the shape of a dragon’s limbs.
In size, it was twice bigger than the previous gigantroll. Sieg knew the meaning behind such a husk. No, in that, he wasn’t alone.
「This is a shedding a dragon performs when it’s healing.」
Said Axel, when he came near us and saw those cast-off scales.
「…So you know about this as well. After a dragon recovers from the verge of death such wreckage remains.」
The dragons have a habit of landing to the ground when they are wounded to the point of being unable to fly anymore, and then without moving from that spot, it devours creatures that have magic power in their immediate vicinity.
Then, after recovering to some extent, they would shed old scales in order to recover a hide.
As a result, such husks remain—
「However Sieg, it looks like this dragon has not fully recovered. It’s just a few scales and there is blood all over the place.」
Axel pointed out that there is a large number of clots of blood among the scales.
「You are…right. Just as you say, had it fully recovered only a clean husk of its full body would remain. But, this one is bleeding profusely.」
The trace of blood was continuing from the cast-off scales to the edge of the region with mowed down trees.
「I guess it took flight?」
「Apparently. Sieg, can you see the traces from wings over there? Judging from how blood dried up, it might have flown away quite a long time ago.」
I see. Then, it would seem that this dragon took off somewhere without completely healing its body.
…And there is no way that we, Starlight, wouldn’t notice such a giant were it lurking nearby.
Reaching that conclusion, Sieg sighed and tried to calm down. But soon another idea came to mind.
「Wait a moment? Since it’s healed only halfway, it means that it still has not eaten enough creatures with magic power.」
Though ancient dragons are monsters brimming with lust for battle, it’s not like they are stupid.
When it can’t move, being on the verge of dying it’s one thing, but now, when it has recovered enough to devour such huge monster and then shed, it surely would take the most efficient means to restore magic power.
……Instead of gathering magic power bit by bit at the primordial forest, it would go to a place where it can get a lot of magic power at once.
I have a bad premonition.
At the moment Sieg tried to think of another feeding ground.
「L-Leader! I-It’s terrible!」
High witch shouted at the top of her lungs.
As we turned to her, she continued with a pale face and with trembling lips.
「There has been a telepathic communication from the submaster! From the sky, a dragon attacked the City of Stars!」
Looks like my bad premonition was spot on.
The center of the City of Stars.
In front of the Sagittarius store, Marion was looking at the howling ancient dragon, clad in battered ashen scales.
「To think a dragon would attack the city.」
「Yeah, I also didn’t expect this, my heart almost stopped……」
Beside the white-faced Marion, who was forcing a smile, stood Dort.
Knitting his eyebrows he was also looking at the dragon, that was destroying the surrounding buildings and devouring magic items.
「Kaufmann-san, did you make contact by telepathy?」
「Of course. I already asked for all the help and reinforcements that I could. And you, Marion? You looked busy with evacuations… Is it going smoothly?」
「For the time being, I did what was possible, but we also have people lagging behind so I sent Kohaku to the rescue. For now, people with combat jobs still stalling for time.」
A large number of combatants was surrounding the dragon, and each one was throwing attacks at it.
But none of them had any effect.
Here and there it seemed like holes were appearing in dragon’s scales. but most of the attacks were repelled.
「……For now I’m planning to provide combat support as well, but isn’t that thing too strong?」
「Even if it’s still not fully recovered, it’s an ancient dragon. Though it looks like it is quite slow due to the aftereffects from the war……」
「Haha, that’s slow? What a bad joke. Crushing the barrier from the magic laboratory, and now easily shrugging off high-ranked fighters while trying to eat them.」
For now, there are still a lot of people fighting.
Since there are potions that allow recovery even from heavy injuries, there is still no human loss. However, it doesn’t change the fact that we are completely at its will.
「Good grief, I remember seeing an ancient dragon on the frontlines, but they are every bit as terrifying as before. Luckily, we still have no deaths. ……Considering that such a fellow never came to this town during the war, the current situation still can be regarded as pretty fortunate.」
As Dort was speaking while trying to get his breathing in order, Marion checked the contents of her correspondence box and asked.
「And so, when will reinforcements come?」
「Some heroes or legendary class fighters should come from nearby, but I think it will take some time. So, for now, we definitely have to do something ourselves.」
「Yes. At this rate most of the city will be destroyed, so we have to drive it away somehow——They say that dragon’s weak point is its neck, so I guess I will try to slip through and get him there.」
Marion pulled a single dagger from the letterbox.
With an enchantment for physical enhancement, it was the highest grade armament that she possessed.
「I see. Then, I guess I will recall the days of the great war when I was called the battle merchant and desperately fight as well.」
From his pocket, Dort pulled out an iron shell and equipped it to his fist. Then, he took a deep breath—
「Then, let’s go, Kaufmann-san. As a master of one of the twelve guilds that protects this country and this city, I shall commence a defensive battle… !」
And thus, started the battle of the City of Stars versus the ancient dragon.
「Return to the City of Stars!」
Immediately after hearing the report, members of Starlight made their resolve.
Running at full speed from here, they will rush to provide reinforcements to the City of Stars.
There is nothing else that they can do. However—
……No matter how hard they try, this distance will take at least thirty minutes.
Just how much of the city will be destroyed during that time? It’s also questionable if any strength to fight will be left after such a rush.
……Still, the City of Stars was in danger.
We have to get back as fast as possible to help everyone.
Only that sentiment was on my mind. And a bit impatient, we started running. At that moment—
To our mind filled with panic, that calm voice felt like a splash of cold water. It came from Axel, who stood behind us.
「What is it, Axel-san?! Let me tell you this, don’t even think of trying to stop us! Even if there is an ancient dragon, it’s our hometown! We cannot sit out this battle!」
Said Sieg, turning around. To those words, Axel replied with a nod.
「I’m not going to stop you. However… Sieg, in short, you guys want to get back to town as fast as possible?」
「Yes! Of course, we do!」
「Okay. Then, leave it to us. We’ll carry you with speed as the main priority.」
「You will, carry us… ?」
Doubt appeared in Sieg’s expression after hearing Axel’s words.
But Axel paid it no heed and said to Berzelia, who stood beside him—
「Well, Berzelia. Let’s go.」
「Okay, I shall turn back. Then——【Transform】」
When she said that, Berzelia’s body got enveloped in red light.
And in the blink of an eye, her body changed, and finally—
「She turned into… A dragon?」
She turned into a dragon with gorgeously shining red and gold scales.
「T-This dragon. I, I remember seeing her on a battlefield.」
「Y-yes, me too. Isn’t this the bronze dragon that invisible dragon knight was riding… ?」
What was there is the figure of the beautiful dragon that the hero whom I admired, was riding in the past.
I will never forget. The hero’s partner. And since such a being was here—
「A-Axel-san. After all, it was not just your name. You are the real… !!!」
Completely astonished, Sieg once again turned his gaze to Axel. Then—
「For now, I guess we can leave baggage around here……」
He turned the transportation bag upside down and poured the contents out on the ground.
It was the luggage that he put in there before the departure—
「——A-Axel-san? W-what are you doing?」
Being doubtful of his weird behavior I asked Axel, but he answered with a serious face while shaking the transportation bag and pulling items out of there.
「I’m making room. If I make space then everyone from Starlight will be able to get inside.」
「W-we get into the transportation bag?」
That suggestion was so wild that my eyes involuntarily went round. Then, Axel looked at Berzelia and nodded at her back.
「Only one person can ride Berzelia. The best way to bring everyone is to get you inside of this transportation bag. It is possible to breathe inside, it might be a bit cramped but there is something like a small room inside, so be at ease. I properly confirmed that by putting my own head inside.」
「Then, voices from outside can be heard in there so we will have a discussion on the plan on our way to the city.」
「A plan……You say?」
When asked, Axel stopped shaking his bag and turned to me with a serious expression.
「The ancient dragon, he wasn’t on our request, but since it appeared it can’t be helped—— From now on our mission changes from magic beasts subjugation to dragon subjugation. And there is a strategy for that.」
And together with a hero.
They flew back to the city.